Saturday, September 28, 2013

Seeing Double

There are just some patterns that beg to be made over and over again.

The Holden Shawlette is magical in the it is one of the few patterns I've come across that look impressive in any yarn. Seriously, I've never seen a project that didn't look amazing. Normally I'm not a fan of highly variegated yarns and yet somehow the Holden manages to make it work. While I haven't personally made one with a very highly variegated one I have made two in a variegated yarn and both came out looking great (or so I think). I believe this shawl's magic lies in its simplicity which also makes it a mindless knit for me and a perfect last minute gift item. \

Pattern: Holden Shawlette
Yarn: Louet Euroflax Sport  [2 skeins skeins; 540 yards]
Needle Size: 4mm
Ravelry Project Page: Linen Holden

I had never really worked with linen too much before. I've dabbled with it but haven't made anything of this size. A lot of people complain about its roughness but I actually really enjoyed working with it and it made my hands feel great. But as I was working with it I felt that the stitch definition just wasn't there and I was beginning to get a little worried. Fear not! Once washed the linen blooms and a gorgeous fabric is created. This linen Holden is probably my favourite one I've made because it just looks so elegant. 

I wanted to use up every last bit of yarn so this has one extra repeat of the lace. 

Yarn: Zen Yarn Garden Serenity Silk Single  [1 skein; 430 yards]
Needle Size: 4mm
Ravelry Project Page: Holden Shawlette II

See? This pattern can do no wrong. Did I mention it's fast? I made my first Holden and this one in just two days. 

Pattern: Sweet Dreams 
Yarn: Zen Yarn Garden Serenity Silk + [.95 skein dragonfruit; 470 yards]
Needle Size: 4mm
Ravelry Project Page: Sweet Dreams

Another really simple yet impressive shawl is Sweet Dreams by Boo Knits. It's only available from the In Love Collection (e-book) but all the patterns are worth it. While it doesn't have the same magical characteristics that make it look amazing regardless of yarn used it really shines in semi solid colours. Being a crescent shape allows for a large finished shawl that's easy to wear but that doesn't require a lot of yardage.

One of the most important things about a pattern for me is to be able to easily resize it. I'm the kind of person who hates leftovers because they get tossed into a bin and then I feel like I need to make a scrap project of some kind and usually scrap projects involve lots of seaming and I hate seaming. So I try to avoid having leftovers, if possible. One way to do that, of course, is by adding on pattern repeats. Sometimes this can enhance a pattern while other times it can really take away from the beauty of a finished piece by giving it strange proportions. But with Sweet Dreams there's really only one pattern so it's very easy to resize while still looking great. 

Pattern: Sweet Dreams
Yarn: Malabrigo Silkpaca   [2.5 skeins Periwinkle; 1050 yards held double]
Needle Size: 4mm
Ravelry Project Page: Sweet Dreams II

One thing I have to say about all these shawls is that while they are simple and beautiful they also have the dreaded picot bind off. I'm willing to do it because it is one of the best ways to finish off a simple piece to give it a little extra whimsy. But, wow, does it take FOREVER! This particular Sweet Dreams had to be done in two days. I had almost finished the shawl when I noticed "Hmm, I think I did the beginning wrong" which is just sad because I've made this shawl before. It's one of those shawls with increases on the right and wrong side and all my other projects at the time (another reason for project monogamy) were right side row increases only. 

So I frogged it. And had to start again. One day left. I managed to get it all done and even took a little break thinking I just have the bind off and that won't take long. I always overestimate my speed when it comes to picot bind offs. Yes, I'm a fast knitter but I am a slow binder-offer (I'm also a slow caster-oner) and the picot bind off combines my two weakness requiring me to both cast on and then bind off the stitches I just cast on. 

When the shawl was complete it had taken me two hours just to bind off.

Now let's talk about the yarn. I'm a Malabrigo junkie. When I first started knitting Malabrigo was the cool yarn company and my first skein of Malabrigo was Malabrigo Lace. I sill love Malabrigo Lace. I know some people don't like it because they find it pills but I haven't had any pilling problems (although I've also never made a sweater out of it which is where most issues come from) and it's just so wonderfully soft that I'd be able to overlook it if it did pill a little. But in answer to these issues Malabrigo has enhanced their already popular baby alpaca lace by adding silk in. I'm not sure which yarn I prefer but the silkpaca is certainly wonderful and I'm sure much more popular amongst those who didn't like the baby alpaca lace. 

I have two more skeins wound up already (Ravelry Red) so i guess that says something. I think I'm going to try again at Ethereal Triangular Shawl by using two skeins (maybe even three) to make it bigger. 

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